Depression is a complex mental health issue that varies widely between individuals. This is why it can be difficult for some people to recognize what may be a situational discomfort that may pass on its own, and what may be more serious and require professional help.
The Difference Between Mild and Serious Mental Health Issues
In order to measure the seriousness of a mental health issue, most mental health professionals look at what impact it has on the person’s everyday life. They also take into account the events that led to the issue.
Mild mental health issues are typically less persistent as well as less disruptive to an individual’s everyday life. Serious mental health issues, on the other hand, are often so severe that they negatively impact that person’s relationships and performance at school and work.
As an example, feeling pressure at work about an upcoming deadline will make just about anyone feel stressed and anxious. But if your anxiety becomes so great that you begin calling in sick to work to avoid the project and responsibilities, that would be seen as a disruption in your everyday life. Severe anxiety can lead to panic attacks and that is definitely a reason to seek support.
Something else to keep in mind is the context around the mental health issue. It is perfectly normal to grieve after losing a loved one or to feel anger and resentment after discovering your partner’s infidelity. While it can definitely be helpful to speak with someone during these times, you may not necessarily be experiencing a severe mental health crisis that would warrant help.
It is important to mention that the events of one’s life need not be “serious” in order for you to reach out for help. Whatever it is that you are going through and whatever feelings you are experiencing, they are valid.
Warning Signs of a Serious Mental Health Crisis
The following are some red flags of a mental health crisis that warrant asking for help:
- Feeling sad or “down” for long periods of time (particularly without an inciting incident)
- Noticeable mood swings from very high, like euphoria, to very low, like deep sadness or depression
- Excessive worry
- Feeling empty or apathetic about life
- Engaging in self-harming behaviors, like cutting
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Changes in appetite, sleep or sex drive
- Constant fatigue
- Thoughts of suicide
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to reach out and ask for help. While the days seem dark right now, they can and will get brighter. I’d love to help you get there, so please get in touch with me so we can set up a time to speak. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (619) 738-3947